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Harley's Story

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Harley Ray Van Wyk was born on Aug. 13, 1944, in Onawa, Iowa. His parents were Herbert and Marie Elizabeth (De Kock) Van Wyk. Harley’s early education was in various areas of Iowa, including Pella and Prairie City, as well as in South Dakota, due to his parents' several moves as farm hands. He entered High School in Gilman, Iowa, as a junior, where he met Janet Kay Shill on the first day of school. Soon they went on a date and on Sept. 8, 1961, they were united in marriage in Gilman. A special memory of their wedding day was that a friend had written “help” on the bottom of Harley’s shoes so when he knelt it would be seen. Harley and Jan’s marriage was made strong by always making up after disagreements and made special by raising four children: Sandra Renae, who was born on Feb. 13, 1962, Jeffery Todd born on Feb. 12, 1963, Teresa Dawn born on July 2, 1964, and Connie Lea, who was born on April 6, 1966; and eventually a granddaughter, Kassondra Marie Van Wyk who was born to Sandra on Nov. 27, 1983. Harley held various employment throughout the years including working as a hired farm hand, Firestone, Parsons, and Vermeer. He worked at Vermeer Manufacturing for 40 years, retiring at the age of 65 years in 2009. His passion for being out on the water prompted him to open his own boat business, Van’s Outboard, which he owned and operated for nearly 50 years. Harley enjoyed spending time outdoors including boating, fishing, hunting, motorcycling, and snowmobiling. Harley and Jan enjoyed numerous snowmobile and motorcycle trips across the country. His faith in God only grew stronger with the untimely deaths of two of his children: Jeff Van Wyk, who was killed in a motorcycle/truck accident on Sept. 1, 1984, and Sandi Van Wyk Hansen, who passed away from colon cancer on Nov. 2, 1991. The death of his wife, Jan, on Dec. 19, 2009, brought him even closer to the Lord. In 2011, a very special lady, Diane De Heus, brought joy back into Harley’s life. Harley was preceded in death by his wife, Jan, and his two children, Sandi and Jeff, his parents Herbert and Marie Van Wyk, and his step mother Marge (Willemsen) Van Wyk, and his two brothers, Jerald Van Wyk and Marvin Van Wyk and a brother-in-law, Gary McGrew. Harley became a baptized member of the First Baptist Church in Pella on Easter Sunday, March 27, 2005, where he remained an active, faithful member. On Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2015, he passed away at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, at the age of 71 years after a very aggressive and very short stent with cancer. Those left to cherish his memory are his two daughters and their husbands: Terri and Merlin Rozenboom of Centennial, Colo., and their two sons: Todd Rozenboom and Ashley Beauchane of Englewood, Colo., and their daughter Emily Rozenboom; son, James Rozenboom of Centennial, Colo.; Connie and Keith Hoksbergen of Pella, and their five children: Brandi Hoksbergen and daughter Hannah Nunnikhoven of Pella; Susan and Beau Pierson of Ankeny; Brittney and Joey Santiago of Oregon City, Ore.; Taylor Anderson and LuAnn Nichols and daughter Harper Anderson; Wesley and Taylor Hoksbergen of Iwakuni, Japan; and a granddaughter, Kassi Van Wyk of Pella, who was raised like a daughter. Of Harley’s original family remaining are his two brothers; Sylvan Van Wyk and his wife, Gina of Rapid City, S.D.; and Den Van Wyk of Temecula, Calif., two sisters- in- law, Dorothy Van Wyk of Pella, Marge Coppock of Marshalltown, and brother- in-law, Dale McGrew and his wife, Sue, of Marshalltown; along with many nieces and nephews. He will always be remembered as a quiet, gentle, strong, humble hero. Funeral services were held on Saturday, Oct. 3, at the First Baptist Church in Pella. Van Dyk – Duven Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.
Published on  October 9, 2015
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